ATC160519: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism on 2016 Tourism Indaba, dated 19 May 2016


Report of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism on 2016 Tourism Indaba, dated 19 May 2016

The Portfolio Committee on Tourism, having attended the 2016 Tourism Indaba in Durban at Chief Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from 6-9 May, reports as follows:


  1. Introduction

Indaba was invented in 1979 and was held for the 37th time from 6th - 9th May 2016 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Conventions Centre in Durban. Since its humble beginnings in 1979, Indaba has remarkably grown over the years to become the number one tourism trade and consumer show in Africa with a Pan-African flair. The event showcases the widest variety of Southern Africa's best tourism products and attracts international buyers and media from across the world. This show is owned by South African Tourism and organised by Pure Grit Project and Exhibitions Management (Pty) Ltd. Amongst its accolades, Indaba has won the awards for Africa’s best travel and tourism show. This award was presented by the Association of World Travel Awards.

However, the show has stagnated as both exhibitor and visitor numbers are declining and this is a cause for a major concern for the Committee.  The industry has over the past few years raised a concern that Indaba is becoming outdated as it is not keeping up with international standards and trends. Indaba needs a complete overhaul and that is why the Committee has made recommendations to South African Tourism over the years to upgrade Indaba to match international standards of similar shows. The process is currently underway to appoint a partner that will assist South African Tourism to plan and manage Indaba with an aim to modernise it and make it relevant to the fast-paced changing tourism trends.


  1. Delegation

The delegation to 2016 Tourism Indaba consisted of the following Committee members and support staff:




Name of Member





Hon. B.T Ngcobo (Chairperson)

Hon. E.K.M Masehela  

Hon. P.E Adams

Hon. S.D Bekwa

African National Congress (ANC)`

Hon. J. Vos

Hon. G.R Krumbock

Hon. A.G Whitfield 

Democratic Alliance (DA)


Hon. L Makhubela-Mashele

Hon. T.S Xego

Hon. A. Matshobeni

Hon. R.N Cebekhulu 

African National Congress (ANC)



Economic Freedom Fighters

Inkatha Freedom Party





  1. Opening Address by Minister of Tourism

The Indaba delegates were welcomed by the Ministers of Tourism and these included Ministers of Tourism from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Lesotho, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Amongst the delegates were the MECs for Tourism from all provinces. Remarks were made that the presence of these delegates at Indaba indicated that the countries are united to build and brand Africa as a continent of unparalleled opportunities and join hands to make tourism a sector of hope and progress for people. The focus of Indaba was on concrete actions to achieve the set aspirations.       

Indaba is the premier African travel and tourism show, with exhibits from 18 countries on the continent in 2016. It expresses what the soul of Africa is all about. This is what it means to share what the continent has, and to work together to get what is needed in the sector. The gathering at Indaba was to forge business partnerships between product owners and buyers. The great work after Indaba was about how governments throughout the continent partner with industry and communities, and how to join forces to receive the next wave of tourists. 

Indaba is all about partnerships. In 2015, the Ministry announced intention to find a partner to make Indaba even more impactful and that process was said to be at an advanced stage of negotiations with a prospective partner.   

Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre reflected the vibrant culture of Africa. Indaba was a great way to commemorate Africa Month, when the 1.2 billion people of Africa get together to celebrate cultural heritage, arts and music, and the creativity of the people. Africa Month is an appropriate time to pay tribute to Albert Luthuli. His life story may be well known to many, but for the benefit of visitors from abroad, he lived his life in pursuit of universal freedom. Inkosi Luthuli once said: “Our interest in freedom is not confined to ourselves only. We are interested in the liberation of the oppressed in the whole of Africa and in the world as a whole.”  He was the first person in Africa to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. As one of the leaders of the African National Congress, he contributed to making South Africa the nation it is today, and the continent is making steady headway in achieving Albert Luthuli’s aspirations. Africa is vibrant melting port for tourism: the diverse cultures, customs and traditions of the people, merged with the endless variety of the landscapes, blended with unique biodiversity, and fired by spirit of freedom and equality.

As tourism succeeds, the continent succeeds, and millions of people benefit from this success. Tourism in South Africa, and in Africa is on the brink of a new success story. Some of the challenges experienced in South Africa last year resulted in dwindling tourism numbers. That is now behind, and South Africa is experiencing spectacular growth in tourist arrivals. All indicators are that 2016 will be a bumper year for tourism in South Africa. In fact, tourism is poised for growth across Africa.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation estimates that international tourist arrivals will grow by 4 percent this year. Tourist arrivals in Africa are expected to reach 130 million by 2030. This is more than double the 50 million arrivals currently received.

Investment in tourism across Africa is making tourism a key economic driver. Emerging economies are shifting away from their reliance on commodities, and moving towards innovation and the services sector. Tourism on the continent is built on the enduring value of natural assets and the authentic cultural experiences offer. It also depends on the capacity to provide excellent infrastructure, facilities and service.

Africa is a massive continent. The sheer scale of deserts, forests and plains is a wonder in itself, let alone their beauty. South Africa has the most amazing natural splendour. Landscapes and biodiversity are unmatched in the world. The World Heritage Sites that reveal the earth’s secrets and relate the story of humanity. But all attractions and facilities would stand idle without the people, the genuine people of Africa, welcoming tourists warmly, catering for their needs professionally, share culture in memorable ways.   

The world’s tourists want authentic, meaningful experiences. They still want leisure, wildlife and adventure, and they continue to come to Africa for this. But, more and more, tourists want to meet real people in their homes and communities. They want a taste of local traditions and customs. This provides opportunities for many people from indigenous communities to become involved in tourism.  South Africa is investing in key sites, and training people to enhance the visitor experience at these destinations and has started fitting selected attractions with solar energy to reduce their reliance on the national grid and to lower their operational costs.

More attention is paid to the image and reputation of Africa, not only through effective marketing, but by putting on a really great show when tourists arrive. Their word of mouth will do marketing for the country when they return home. Across the continent, similar challenges are faced by different countries which share similar potential for sustainable growth. African countries stand to benefit from working together, instead of competing with each other. Indaba provides the ideal platform to do this. A successful Indaba contributes to the success of tourism in all countries. 

Exhibitors are the key to unlocking this potential, they are the product owners, and they represent continent’s diverse offers. The interaction between exhibitors and buyers is central to the success of any travel trade show. Buyers are looking for a one-stop show that offers a wide range of tourism products and services. In 2016, buyers at Indaba have were sourced from key global markets.

Africa is a continent of unparalleled opportunity, and tourism is where the greatest untapped opportunity lies. It is the fountain of hope that promises progress for people. Countries are addressing their visa policies, their infrastructure, health and hygiene standards, and the protection of their natural resources. Mobile bookings are on the rise in Africa. About 15 percent of room nights are now booked on a mobile phone. This allows product owners to attract many more customers at a far lower cost.

It is also significant that the SADC Tourism Ministers have agreed to transform the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) into a dedicated marketing organisation, which will make joint marketing efforts more efficient and effective. The National Department of Tourism (NDT) has hosted workshops to share best practice with several sister countries on the continent. However, despite positive development like these, the continent still faces impediments to growth. Air transport services remain a key constraint. Many major airlines fly to Africa from North America, Europe, and Asia, but, once visitors reach the continent, they encounter difficulties in travelling from country to country within the continent.

If one quarter of the African countries were to implement the Open Skies for Africa decision and facilitate greater air access between countries, an additional 155,000 jobs and USD 1.3 billion in GDP could be generated, with obvious benefits for tourism.

A total of 575 national and international media people were welcomed to Indaba 2016. Their presence was immensely valued in sharing the success story of tourism in Africa with the world. Tourism offers an opportunity for media to cast the narrative of Africa in an entirely new light, one that brightens up the future of the continent and contributes to the African success story.




  1. Third Indaba Ministerial Roundtable Discussions


The Committee had an opportunity to attend the Third Indaba Ministerial Roundtable Session. The Theme of the Ministerial Session was: “Brand Africa: Realising Africa’s Tourism Destination Potential.” The intention of this theme was to explore and discuss the perceptions and realities associated with Africa and their impact on tourism growth in the region.  The session looked at various challenges facing the region and how to change those into solutions that benefit all countries in the region. It included the attendance of Tourism Ministers and representatives from countries such as Namibia, Swaziland, Seychelles, Mozambique, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Angola, Kenya and others

The session provided a platform for policy makers and key industry players, whose mandate is to grow and develop travel and tourism on the continent, to deliberate on emerging tourism trends, opportunities and challenges facing the tourism sector in the continent. The discussions focussed on a number of issues that affect the region. Central to this was the brand of the various countries as tourist destinations, as tourism is seen as gift in the region that creates employment opportunities and investment attraction. The region should determine the investment direction with regard to how countries use tourism to maximise economic development. Tourism could be used for trade stimulation, SMME development, skills training, conservation, cooperation, and competitiveness. The intention is to create a momentum for delivery, shared image, and to ensure that the image of the region is correct, consistent and clearly communicated.  There were three presentations made in line with the theme as follows:


4.1        African perspectives on tourism

Ambassador Abba Omar of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection presented an African perspective on tourism. His input focussed on positioning and promoting the continent globally and promoting each country internally. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation has forecasted that in less than 15 years tourism in Africa would more than double from 56 million to about 130 million. The reality is that Africa could do better than this. The disjuncture is that Africa has 5 percent of global arrivals but only 3 percent of tourism receipts. Africa should aim to at least have 5 percent of global tourism receipts by 2022 to ensure that the continent is competitive.


4.2        Perspectives on branding

In dealing with brand issues in Africa, Mr Thebe Ikalafeng who is a Founder and Chairman of Brand Leadership Group presented the African Case Studies on Image Building and Branding. Challenges and proposed strategies were presented. The challenges of Africa were suggested to have started in 1884 in Berlin when Africa was cut out into different sections that regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period. Since then, the African stories and “branding” were told from a European perspective. The continent was seen as a hopeless continent and world renowned magazines such as The Economist published negative stories about Africa as “the hopeless continent”. This is also evident in the prominent business adverts such as when Korean Airlines launched its route in Kenya two years ago where they said “Fly to Nairobi with Korean Air and enjoy the grand African savannah, the safari tour, and indigenous people full of primitive energy”. This shows how other nations perceive Africans and this is not a positive brand perception about the continent.

It is only recently that Africa is seen as a continent with potential in a 360 degrees turn on perceptions by Time Magazine and The Economist whereby headings such as “Africa Rising” have been published. The challenge facing Africa is that the world looks at Africa as one country. The challenge for the tourism practitioners is to send messages that reflect Africa as a continent with 54 countries. Brands are about perceptions, what people think about the country and its people become a reality. Tourism branding should be about showing diversity and presenting the truth about Africa and its countries.

The important fact to bear in mind is that the brand is not a logo. The logo is just an entry point to the brand, and more work should be done to create a brand and image of a destination. Every country is competing for the share of tourists that come to Africa and the experience the people have when they visit the country is important as it becomes the brand they take home and form opinions about our destination. A brand is a person’s gut feeling about the product, service, or company. It is not what one says it is and more what tourists say it is. It is also prudent to always keep in mind that whether we like or not, the world forms an opinion about us as a country every day, either through the media, interaction with other people, their own experiences or simply due to preconceived notions. The work of tourism agencies is therefore rooted in managing the perceptions visitors form about the country and shape their opinions into positive brand messages about the country. In building the brand, there are crucial aspects to consider. These are:

  • Clarity - the brand should be clear and specific, such as “Incredible India”. This is used in India for tourism, business and investment.
  • Credibility - the brand should deliver what it promises.
  • Compelling - the brand must be compelling and draw people to the destination.
  • Cohesive - the brand should take into consideration all aspects of the country, including exports, governance, investment and migration, culture and heritage, people, and most importantly tourism.
  • Consistency - brand messaging should be consistent and not confusing to the intended target market.
  • Leadership - is a critical player in how the brand is created and sustained. Africa therefore needs leadership with clear plans and priorities to overcome structural problems.
  • Creativity - creativity in countries will raise the awareness about the country and improves its perceptions globally. Innovations such as M-Pesa have raised the country profile of Kenya.

All these aspects should be integrated and work together to work best for the destination. Branding must however start with Africans loving their own countries and the essence of the brand should stay the same.  The outcome of positive brand will sustain Africa’s growth, creativity, collaboration, pride in citizenship and culture.


4.3        The international perspective

The international perspective presentation was delivered by Dr Christopher Rodrigues who is the Chairperson of Visit Britain. He emphasised that countries should not downplay the importance of domestic tourism as this is the pillar of a healthy tourism industry. Some successful countries have a strong domestic tourism compared to international tourism. If a country does not have a strong domestic tourism they obviously don’t have anything to sell to the international market. Destinations should therefore understand that domestic and international tourism work both ways.

The importance of a good relationship between the industry and government was emphasised in the presentation. The industry needs to understand the economic goals of tourism and work with the government on issues such as job creation. The government on the other hand should provide an enabling environment for the industry to flourish. It is also important for the government to understand that they control the levers of tourism, and that tourism is a domain for the private sector. It takes a huge amount of collaboration for government to get positive outcomes from the private sector and therefore tourism should be at the centre of policy-making and not an afterthought by the government.

The minimum standard for a robust destination development should include freedom to travel, Visa processing, security, infrastructure development, place making and the people of the destination. The national branding is also key and countries should decide what kind of destination they want to be. This should be a decision between high value added and low volume, or high volume and low margin. Beyond country borders, African states should decide if they want to develop and promote a pan-regional brand. If this notion is embraced, countries should work towards ensuring that the brand is complimentary, find a common ground for branding, and sell experiences not destinations.


  1. Ministerial Media Talk

The Committee attended the Ministerial Media Talk, which followed the official opening of Indaba. This was a frank facilitated panel discussion on issues relating to open skies policy and implementation thereof, interdepartmental collaboration during policy formulation, and trust between government and the industry. The panel included the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom; Deputy Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa; the Chief Executive Officer of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, Mmatšatši Ramawela;  and Gillian Saunders of Grant Thornton.   The panel was moderated by Mr Richard Quest of CNN. 

The panel addressed the strategic economic importance of tourism, threats and opportunities associated with it, such as job creation, foreign direct spend and social development. A key part of the discussion was the need for collaboration and engagement of other government departments by the National Department of Tourism when taking decisions on issues that have far reaching consequences for the sector. This was highlighted by the recent announcement by the Minister of Sport revoking the privilege of four of South Africa’s sporting associations to host future events because of their failure to meet their agreed upon transformation targets.  As good as this decision is in expediting transformation in sport, it poses negative consequences for the tourism sector. The Minister acknowledged that consultation is needed in such instances in order to balance doing the right thing for the country, without negatively affecting tourism, and indicated it is his job to promote tourism, so he will engage with the Minister of Sports.

The panel agreed that there is an opportunity to learn best practices from the continent and the world, a sentiment especially emphasised by the Tourism Business Council.   The panel was challenged on the veracity of tourism growth figures for South Africa, and the panel moderator suggested that the quoted figure of 15 percent was misleading as it was based on growth off a low base after South Africa had “shot itself in the foot”, in relation to the visa requirements that included unabridged certificates. In providing clarity, the Minister indicated that the effect of the Ebola outbreak on tourist arrivals could also not be underestimated in the tourism performance of 2015. According to Grant Thornton, taking a two-year view, the arrivals growth was three percent below the global average of four percent. It was noted however, that the industry was significantly rescued by the depreciation of the rand despite the fact that studies could not find a direct correlation between currency depreciation and tourist arrivals.     

Another heated discussion was in regard to South African Airways and its role in tourism. The moderator questioned the governance model of SAA and raised issue about the Low Cost Carriers being the global trend in driving tourism. Though they differed on a number of issues, the panel agreed on the importance of SAA as a national carrier and its importance to South Africa as a developmental state in driving tourist arrivals. They also agreed that the trust between government and private sector was essential to the growth and development of the tourism industry.  


  1. Information sharing session of KwaZulu-Natal Province

The Committee had an opportunity to attend the information sharing session of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism of KwaZulu-Natal Province. The purpose of the session was to share with Indaba delegates the connectivity of the City of Durban and KwaZulu-Natal to the rest of the world, and planned tourism projects for the province. The MEC of Tourism, Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu,  highlighted that the national Minister of Tourism reiterated that South Africa must be counted amongst the top 20 tourism destinations by 2020 hence the Province of KwaZulu-Natal responded by developing the Provincial Tourism Master Plan. The province is renowned for its all- year-round warm climatic conditions, magnificent beaches, scenery, diverse cultural and heritage tourism resources, as well as being home to two world heritage sites in the form of iSimangaliso Wetland Park on the north coast and uKhahlamba Drakensberg Mountain Ranges in the north west. Tourism potential of the province should be enhanced in order to continue to remain competitive with other provinces and the world.      

The Provincial White Paper on the Development and Promotion of Tourism identified the need for the development of the Tourism Master Plan that sets out the key strategic objectives and the plan to grow the sector. The plan is a comprehensive long-term strategy to provide a structural framework for success in the development, management and monitoring of the province’s tourism industry while pre-empting problems and possible mitigation actions.  The Master Plan is aligned to the KZN Provincial Growth and Development Plan in that the targets are set for 2030, with five year interval indicators that assist in the process of monitoring and evaluation of the progress made. The government had recognised that accessibility is a key feature needed to achieve sustainable economic growth and prosperity and it is in that spirit that the province continues to provide services and improve the provision of world-class transport and logistics infrastructure.

The King Shaka International Airport services both domestic and international flights, with regularly scheduled services to Dubai, Istanbul, Doha, Addis Ababa, Mauritius, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo, as well as 8 domestic destinations. The airports’ position forms part of the Golden Triangle between Johannesburg and Cape Town, which is important for convenient travel and trade between the three cities. The City of Durban is also accessible by sea, rail and road. The new international links will create an avenue for Durban and KZN to connect to all six continents which guarantee an upsurge in the tourist, business and general passenger numbers to arrive through King Shaka International Airport (KSIA). The partnerships will add value to the campaign of building sustainable air connectivity from KSIA to the rest of the world, which would ensure that KwaZulu-Natal becomes a key regional aviation hub. It was important for Durban to secure more direct flights to the City and the Province to increase economic activity and tourism. Durban is the gateway to Africa and will increase visitors and investors if there is more direct routes to the City. The City of Durban is an investment destination which presents a lot of opportunities for investors to tap into the Southern Africa market and the entire African continent for investments.      

A panel discussion including the MEC and two developers was also held. This session provided insights into the planned tourism projects that aim to enhance and diversify product offering of KwaZulu-Natal. Major amongst these were the prospects of beach resorts and a mixed use shopping complex that houses international brands, with a hotel and residential areas.


  1. Women in Tourism

The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, hosted the successful Women in Tourism initiative at Indaba. This annual event is fast becoming a sought after event to attend during Indaba. The establishment of the Women in Tourism (WiT) forum is aimed at addressing the economic inequalities and challenges faced by women within the sector.  The WiT agenda is centred on ‘Commanding Respect, ascertaining Recognition of women contribution in the sector, encouraging representation in economic activities and leadership, and producing results which will enhance the supply and demand for domestic tourism.

Tourism has been recognised as a pillar of economic growth as well as a social unifier.  Within the industry, women make up nearly 70 percent of the workforce.  However, there is a marked under-representation of women in senior positions, with women holding less than 40 percent of all managerial positions, less than 20 percent of general management roles and between 5-8 percent of board positions. According to the South African UN representative, women in Ghana contribute almost 56 percent to the GDP, whilst South Africa is at about 30 percent.  It is no longer negotiable that the economic empowerment of women to 50/50 representation beyond 2030 should be considered a priority. As a result of the size and relevance of the sector within the global economy, there is a wide range of stakeholders that have a strong commercial interest in enabling its continued growth and development, and associated with this, in enhancing the talent pipeline in order to unlock the potential of women in the workplace. These stakeholders encompass private and public sector players, education and training providers as well as the communities in which the sector is active.

In the 2015 report, the WTTC highlighted the consequences of talent imbalances and talent shortages in global tourism, focusing on serious business and profitability consequences. Of the talent challenges faced by hospitality, perhaps the major issue is that of a failure to utilise talented women to the best effect within the industry, particularly at senior levels.  Opportunities for women development and funding options available were highlighted at this event. These opportunities include: 

  • The Executive Development Programme for Women was launched in March 2016 by the NDT working with the BEE Charter Council. It is targeting 20 women that will be identified from the industry and will go through a selection process in partnership with the selected Higher Education Institutions.
  • The newly established Enterprise Development Programme by the Department shall focus on more than 50 percent of its efforts on Women Development through the Incubator process as well as formal business development studies.
  • The programmes of support offered by the departmental Tourism Incentive Programme remain open for women in Tourism to tap in.
  • Many of the skills development programmes offered by the department especially through the SRI funding, provide a leeway for women to venture into new areas such as being chefs and Food Safety Assurers.
  • CATHSSETA formal training and development and bursaries focusing on women development to a PhD level.
  • Women of Value South Africa (WOVSA) is a non-profit organisation formed in 2011 whose mission is to impact on the lives of women and youth to be part of the mainstream socio and economic development in SA.  Their role is to mobilise, advocate, lobby, facilitate, monitor and evaluate as well as do research and develop programmes that respond to the mission of the organisation.  WOVSA partners with government, private sector and other social partners in programmes that impact lives of women and youth in a sustainable manner.

Recognition was given to women that have invested their resources in breaking barriers and advancing the course of inclusive participation.  The volunteers driving the chapters were acknowledged for the commitment and sacrifice.  The 2016 event also included the attendance of ministers and delegations from other African countries which is evidence of advancing the Africa agenda.


  1. Hidden Gems Networking Session

The Deputy Minister hosted a Hidden Gems session which included 70 tourism SMMEs from all over the country. Holding this networking function or having the development zone at INDABA was meant to cater to the upliftment of small, micro and medium sized enterprises (SMMEs).  Their performance in a few years will be what transformation and inclusivity targets in tourism will be measured against. 

People of Africa have a destination that is abundant in natural beauty, and diverse heritage and culture. Products and services range from mainstream tourist attractions such as the 120 World Heritage Sites in Africa, to excellent business tourism and conferencing facilities, and the more niche products such as adventure tourism, culture and heritage tourism and social tourism. There is no reason why the people of the continent should not explore these opportunities and make a living from this vast offering of a destination. What happens at the Indaba Development Zone, is the way of illustrating the support and belief in tourism changing lives.

The Minister launched the Tourism Incentive Programme (TIP) in March of 2015 with the overarching policy rationale rooted in the National Development Plan (NDP) and the New Growth Path (NGP) that recognises tourism as a labour intensive and tradable service sector and a catalyst to support a faster and more inclusive economic growth. The Department of Tourism has also established an Enterprise Development Project Management Unit (PMU) which will focus on the following areas:

  1. Enterprise Development Online Information Portal.

The purpose of the online information portal is to increase access to business related information and online tools by tourism SMMEs countrywide. The department’s IT Unit is leading the design of the portal. The negotiation with Business Partners to share information on SME Toolkit is underway and launch of the Portal is expected to take place in the first quarter. The portal will provide information in the following areas: Tourism Incentive Programme (TIP), service excellence, request for support, current tourism business news, e-learning tools, start-up advice, inline surveys, events calendar, compliance requirements, grading information, Lilizela awards campaign, profiling of success stories; and opportunities listing.


  1. Business Advisory Services

The Department has expanded the number of service providers to seven which will allow for a wider reach and diverse expertise that they can tap into for comprehensive support to SMMEs.

8.3        Tourism Incubator Hubs Establishment

The Department will establish two tourism incubators in two thriving tourism destinations in the country, namely:

  • Pilanesberg in the Moses Kotane Local Municipality, North West Province to be launched in the second Quarter od 2016/17; and
  • Manyeleti in Bushbuckridge Local Municipality, Mpumalanga Province to be launched in the third Quarter of 2016/17.

A stakeholder engagement roll out was underway starting in the North West Province where the Department had engaged Government and Community of the Pilanesberg cluster, and the private sector representative body TBCSA. The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) was to work with the Department in the two pilot tourism incubators. This initiative is a definite priority pillar underpinning South Africa’s 2030 vision.  As the country has witnessed the recent economic climate, the growth in the tourism sector has been steady, silently churning in the background while the rest of the economy has been volatile. There is no surprise therefore that tourism is one of the six key growth sectors in the New Growth Path, with its contribution to the GDP which measures 3.9 percent , which is more than most labour-intensive sectors. 

This growth is encouraging and galvanises the Department support and invest in the sector in any way possible.  This was another reason for having the development zone at Indaba 2016. Without the support and the investment, there will be no sustainability in the tourism sector. There will also be no inclusivity nor will transformation occur in the sector.


  1. National Tourism Careers Expo Breakfast Meeting

The Deputy Minister, Hon Thokozile Xasa, hosted the National Tourism Careers Expo Breakfast meeting. The last National Tourism Careers Expo (NTCE) was held at the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (PACOFS) in Bloemfontein on 1-3 October 2015. It marked the first part of a three year cycle, where the Free State would host this national event. The Deputy Minister thanked the Free State Team led by the Premier and MEC Mashinini for a job well done in their successful event held last year. In its seventh consecutive year, NTCE is the largest tourism education event in South Africa and was initiated in 2007 to address challenges in the supply of skills to the South African tourism industry. It was used as a lever to advance strategies to promote investment in human capital in this sector and in doing so, was aligned to objectives of the National Tourism Sector Strategy and the National Tourism Sector Skills Strategy.  The NTCE represents ideas, initiatives and active engagements between education, curriculum developers and the private sector, who share the common goal of taking skills development in tourism to the next level.  It also seeks to improve the training of tourism educators by providing seminars to empower educators.  This is augmented by the annual Tourism Teacher Awards, presented at the NTCE to reward those who make remarkable contributions in the teaching of tourism subjects. The inaugural annual Tourism Teacher Awards presented in 2015 were the first of kind in tourism and will continue in 2016 and other years to come.


The Deputy Minister focused on what this initiative does for the youth, for the industry and the government. Firstly, the youth in the NTCE refers to high school (grades 9 - 12) and TVET College learners, university students and unemployed tourism graduates or youth. This is the primary target group for the NTCE as they are the people the primary objective talks to when the Department  promotes tourism (inclusive of hospitality, travel, conservation, gambling and other related sub sectors) as a career, profession and business (entrepreneurship) of choice. The various interactive platforms that translate this objective into reality include the industry speakers’ platform where engagements with young people take place on what the industry is all about and has got to offer. The exhibition platforms and other youth engagements with industry actually serve this purpose. That is the reason why industry stakeholders are important to be part of the NTCE. Their participation ensures that young people can acquire the necessary exposure on who and what the industry is made composed.  In that way, the youth is enabled to make informed decisions to continue studying tourism as well as committing themselves to a profession in the industry. NTCE ensures that their commitment to serve in the industry therefore does not happen by default as it happened with most people in the sector. It must be by design that a young person decides to take tourism as a career and profession because of exposure to the industry and opportunities that exist. That will ensure attracting the right people for the right job at the right time. This will then enhance service excellence from a position of understanding, positive attitude informed by the urge and passion to work in the industry.


Secondly for the industry, referring to all industry product owners, captains and value chain participants, the NTCE offers an opportunity to sell themselves to young people, especially in the face of unfavourable perceptions that young people have about the sector. As industry, stakeholders sell themselves in terms of what their businesses are all about and offer, as well as their overall contribution to the industry and the economy individually or collectively. In that way, they present a positive picture to young people that negates the negative perceptions they harbour, and instead presents them with a host of exciting and real career and professional opportunities that exist. This is done with the background understanding that young people are not only a source for future labour but they are potential entrepreneurs and tourists of the future. The tourist element in this regard also plays its part even with the current situation, in that if a young person is sold on a tourism product and goes back home with a positive perspective about the product, the parents will definitely know about it, to an extent of even be convinced to buy and consume the services of the product. Therefore, there is also a commercial value in selling tourism products to young people in this regard as the latter benefit is surely derived through direct product marketing to young people.


Thirdly for government, by government referring to all three spheres of government and their related public entities, their role at the NTCE is to present programmes arranged or organised from a demand and supply perspective that are in place to benefit young people from an educational, career and professional perspective. Their programmes are expected to be presented through exhibitions and presentations at the various relevant platforms in place at the NTCE. The government sector includes the education and training institutions that are preparing young people as future tourism professionals and entrepreneurs. They therefore need to engage with industry stakeholders at the NTCE to establish latest trends in terms of skills needs or gaps. The NTCE usually presents a platform in this regard that provides the supply side (education and training institutions) and the demand side (industry players) with an opportunity to engage on how they can reach equilibrium on demand and supply of skills. Educator Seminars also fall in this category and other platforms that are policy and regulations related. The NTCE therefore presents a captured audience for government to engage its stakeholders on relevant tourism matters.


Most of these activities will be succinctly outlined in the commissioned Tourism Human Resource Development Strategy (THRD) and its implementation plan that the department in partnership with CATHSSETA. The THRD strategy and the skills audit process is conducted by the Human Science Research Council (HSRC). The skills audit report will be in place by end of May 2016 and THRD strategy will be in place by end of September 2016. The NDT will probably share some information with the industry on it at the NTCE event this year, 2016. Therefore, government urges the industry stakeholders to cooperate with the researchers from HSRC in providing the necessary information as requested.


The Deputy Minister also reported that the NTCE 2014 produced business ideas through two young people who participated in its Youth Business Zone platform and these two young people are busy completing a programme of shaping their business into bankable real businesses with South African Bureau of Standards Design Institute. The two young people from Eastern Cape will present their final businesses at the NTCE 2016 as part of NTCE Legacy Projects.



  1. Committee observations

The Committee made observations based on all the activities conducted by the Committee as a collective and by individual Members as they interacted with various stakeholders who attended Indaba 2016. The observations are as follows:


  1. The impact of the Ministerial Networking Session

The Committee observed that the Ministerial Networking Session makes Indaba a true Pan-African Tourism event. In the 2015 Ministerial Session the session concluded that the African Union (AU) should strive to include tourism on its agenda, in order to elevate tourism as an economic driver in the continent. The 2016 session re-emphasised the need for a cohesive African collaboration on tourism matters. One of the issues raised was that African states should consider putting systems in place to advance Univisa regime on the continent; and that Africa should strive to harness its cultural and historical resources to market and present a truly unique and authentic destination for the world to visit.


  1. Business focused event

Over the years Indaba has been opened through a glittering opening ceremony that featured music and speeches.  This was traditionally followed by a beach party which cost a lot of money and lasted until late hours, causing delegates to be late in their exhibition stands the following morning. The delegates always raised a concern that the opening ceremony and the beach party, as much as they were enjoyable, were not meaningful and wanted a more business-oriented interaction.  The Committee noted that the opening ceremony for the 2016 Indaba was much improved. It had short speeches followed by an intense interaction about pertinent issues affecting tourism in the country and the region. Instead of a beach party, there was a cocktail event that provided a platform for business networking.


  1. Increased support for emerging tourism enterprises

The Committee has always called for more support and exposure of emerging tourism enterprises to platforms that expose them to markets and assist them for competitiveness. The Committee was pleased to observe that in the 2016 edition of Indaba, South African Tourism brought a total of 70 exhibiting SMMEs under the “Hidden Gems Zone”. These were selected for their uniqueness and authentic representation of South Africa as a destination. Of these, 20 focussed on the adventure experience offered by the country. A total of 14 included those who had won the Lilizela Tourism Award. In interacting with some of the SMMEs, they were satisfied and thankful that South African Tourism had made it possible for them to attend Indaba. The costs included exhibition space, travelling and accommodation during the entire show.  Some of the SMMEs indicated that they had signed some deals with the potential of sustaining their businesses. South African Tourism made this possible through a collaboration with the Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP) and the National Department of Tourism’s Tourism Incentive Programme (TIP).

In the Committee interaction with some of the emerging tourism enterprises hosted by South African Tourism at Indaba under the Theme “Hidden Gems”, and the following issues were raised as challenges

            10.3.1   Access to market

SMMEs expressed experiencing challenges with regard to access to market as some of the exhibition shows are expensive for them.

10.3.2   Requirements to access the Tourism Incentive Programme

SMMEs raised a concern that the requirements for the Tourism Incentive Program are not friendly for emerging businesses in rural areas as they are too high.   Some of the requirements are the B-BBEE certificate, audited financial statements, business insurance, registration with SATSA, membership of TBCSA, and TOMSA levy collection. Mr Mbulelo Kafi of Sakhisizwe Tours in Colesburg, Northern Cape, for example, said he runs a tour operating business and it is difficult for him to meet all the criteria. He alluded that the condition of paying for himself to attend shows and claiming later to be reimbursed is challenging for him as his company does not make much profit. He also said it was for the first time for him to hear about SATSA and the TBCSA. The other challenge is that a company needs to comply with all the criteria otherwise the application is rejected.

The Committee is aware that the Department has the two regions, Northern and Southern Regions, with officials assigned to these areas. The challenges cited by Sakhisizwe Tours point to lack of information and awareness about various components of the industry and different structures in which different types of businesses should belong to.  The Department is urged to work closely work with provinces, targeting emerging businesses in rural areas to ensure they are fully aware of the industry and all its related structures.

10.3.3   Income leakage

Emerging enterprises cited a challenge with their capacity to deal with the volume of business, particularly during the peak season. An example was made of transport used to take the tourist to attractions. The emerging tour operators are struggling to service large tour groups and they have to outsource their business to big operators or hire vehicles. This creates income leakage as their businesses lose the valuable possible income to big businesses and rental companies.  An appeal was made by emerging enterprises that the Department considers a small business support programme through the Tourism Incentive Programme to assist them with business expansion.





10.3.4   Capacity building programmes


Another issue was raised with regard to skills training. Emerging enterprises indicated that they need empowerment training such as Advanced Customer Care which is offered by the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA). Some of them do not have any background in business and they would appreciate assistance with business management skills.


10.4      Indaba as a Hallmark Event for Durban

The Committee noted that Indaba was successfully held for the 37th time in Durban in 2016. The trend globally is that such events are held and hosted in one city and they become synonymous with the city in what is referred to as “Hallmark Events” in the field of event management. The examples include the ITB held in Berlin which has been held in the same city for 50 years since its inception in 1966; the World Travel Market (WTM) that has been hosted in London for 37 years since 1980; Fitur which has been hosted in Madrid for 36 years. The city of Durban has demonstrated that they have a capacity to host this event successfully.


10.5      Prospects of Agri-tourism in Northern KwaZulu-Natal

The Chairperson had a meeting with KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs on the Marula Factory operated by Isulethu Cooperative in Umhlabuyalingana Local Municipality. It was observed that the Project falls under the Department of Agriculture in KwaZulu-Natal and that it was initially conceptualised purely on agricultural grounds. However, there are possibilities of economic linkages with tourism through Route 22 and the East3Route. The harvesting of the Marula fruit is seasonal and there are opportunities of extending the factory to include other primary agricultural activities that may keep the factory afloat to the next Marula harvesting season. The factory could also diversify to include production of oil, jam, and small souvenir products that could be sold to tourists. It was acknowledged that there might be a value added to the project by engaging the Department of Small Business Development to assist with the expansion and diversification of the factory. The diversified factory may also supply agricultural products to the tourism business in the area. This may have a mutual benefit for both the factory and tourism business in complying with the new Tourism B-BBEE Sector Codes.


  1. Recommendations

The Committee recommends that:

  1. The Minister should ensure that the Ministerial Networking Session at Indaba grows to incorporate more tourism ministers from the African continent to ensure that the issues raised have attention of many Member States of the African Union to raise the profile of tourism and collaboration amongst countries.


  1. The Minister of Tourism becomes proactive in interacting with his Cabinet counterparts on the proposed or tabled policies in their respective departments, and highlight the potential negative impacts such policies could have on the tourism industry.


  1. The Minister of Tourism champions a coordinated brand management campaign that provides proper brand positioning, disseminates correct and positive messaging about Africa, and potentially grows the global market share and tourist spend in the region.


  1. The Minister of Tourism should, in Cabinet, emphasise the role played by South African Airways as a National Carrier in growing and sustaining tourism in South Africa and work closely with the airline to identify lucrative and direct routes that connect the country with tourism source markets.


  1. The Department considers reducing the red tape and find ways and mechanisms that could make the Tourism Incentive Programme more user-friendly and accessible to emerging tourism enterprises.


  1. The Minister, once the process of appointing a service provider that will partner with South African Tourism to organise and host Indaba has been finalised, considers a possibility of declaring Indaba as tourism Hallmark Event for Durban, as it is the norm with many tourism events of its kind that are hosted in particular cities all over the world.


  1. The Department considers conducting tourism business workshops with emerging tourism enterprises to assist them in complying with all the industry related legislations and requirements needed to access departmental programmes.


  1. The Minister of Tourism engages the Minister of Small Business Development in conceptualising programmes that may benefit rural communities through agri-tourism and the Enterprise and Supplier Development element in the new Tourism B-BBEE Sector Codes that may assist local suppliers and the tourism industry to comply with transformation imperatives.


  1. The Minister ensures that South African Tourism conducts a cost-benefit analysis of Indaba to ascertain to what extent it adds value to private sector exhibitors and municipalities. In particular, all municipal exhibitors should be canvassed to ascertain to what extent tourism was increased in their areas of jurisdiction as a result of Indaba and compare this to the cost of exhibition.


  1.  Conclusion

Indaba 2016 was a success and the Committee was satisfied that the Department and South African Tourism are doing everything possible to put South Africa on the international map and assisting tourism businesses to flourish.  Most noticeably was the involvement of the 70 tourism SMMEs that were afforded an opportunity to attend Indaba free of charge to expose their businesses to international markets or buyers. The partnership between the Department, South African Tourism, and the Tourism Enterprise Partnership is commended in that regard.

The growth of Indaba to be a Pan-African tourism event is evident as the show was attended by a number of African tourism ministers.  Indaba has become a platform for discussing African tourism issues and the Committee would like to see more participation of African countries in the future.

The Committee notes that a company will be appointed soon to partner with South African Tourism (SAT) to plan and host Indaba. This will relieve SAT staff of the tedious process of planning for Indaba and afford them time to concentrate on marketing the country and driving business tourism. The Committee awaits the outcome of this process and looks forward to a better and improved Indaba that meets international standards and competes globally.


Report to be considered



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